UK’s energy networks consult on creating new markets for distributed energy

For Immediate Release: 17/08/2017
Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) Open Networks Project is launching a consultation today to seek views on how to create a smart electricity grid that enables new markets and opportunities for distributed energy technologies including battery storage, solar panels and services such as electric vehicle to grid demand response.
The paper published today summarises five key considerations that need to be addressed to ensure that distributed energy resources (DERs) can provide services in a way that improves network coordination and reduces system costs. It looks at how our system can maximise the use of DER assets, deliver access to markets, encourage new business models, and maximise the benefits of competition and third-party involvement. 
Greater innovation and competition in the markets keeps the costs of operating and maintaining the energy networks down. The benefits can be shared with customers both through cost savings but also through new technologies and services that allow them to benefit directly from a smarter electricity grid. In the current energy network price control period (2015-2023), local electricity networks are forecast to deliver almost £1billion of savings as result of innovation.
The paper also looks to develop the Distribution System Operator (DSO) role by outlining different models for how the DSO will interact with the transmission operator and DERs. The evolution of the DSO role will be a crucial part of the smart energy system, a platform for new technologies, and is a priority for the Open Networks Project.  
CEO of Energy Networks Association David Smith comments:
“The smart grid transition has the potential to create a whole new range of market opportunities for new technology and service providers, many of whom will be participating in the UK market place for the first time. Our energy networks increasingly need to access the latest technologies and services in order to ensure continued reliable and cost-effective electricity supply as part of a decarbonised system. This paper is about ensuring they have the access to those things, but also about how we can ensure that we make the most of the smart transition for those companies providing them.”
Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at Solar Trade Association who are on the Open Networks Advisory Group comments:
“When it comes to smart power, the STA and its members are especially keen to see progress on creating new local markets that make full use of the multiple services that solar power and storage have to offer. Change cannot come fast enough for our industry which needs the electricity system to catch up with the rapid pace of technology change in clean power generation and storage. The consultation is a crucial first step towards defining the system change needed and therefore particularly important and welcome.”
A BEIS spokesperson said:
“Networks will have an important role to play in the move towards a smart electricity system. Our recently-published Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan sets out reforms to the way that network and operators manage the system and we welcome the progress made by the Energy Networks Association on this issue. We encourage industry to engage with the Commercial Principles paper.”
Sotiris Georgiopoulos from UK Power Networks who is leading the ENA’s work on new ways of working between transmission and distribution companies, said: 
“This is a hugely important time for the energy industry as we transition towards a more low-carbon economy, which is why it is vital that we commit to working together and listening to everyone involved.  
“Our objective is to enable flexible energy systems and new technologies, while continuing to deliver the secure, stable and cost-effective electricity network our customers expect. The work we are doing to open up our network presents a wealth of new opportunities for flexible energy resources. 
“This is the first time that all the electricity network operators have come together to outline a set of options for coordinating an increasingly active network.  We are now looking forward to engaging with distributed energy resources customers, service providers and wider market participants.”
Notes to editors
• The Open Networks Project is a major energy industry initiative that will transform the role of our energy networks and lay the foundations for the UK’s smart grid. The Project brings all seven of Great Britain’s electricity network operators, respected academics, NGOs, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the energy regulator Ofgem. The Project was recently recognised in the Government’s document “Upgrading Our Energy System:  Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan” as a key initiative to drive progress and develop the proposals required to deliver a smart, more flexible energy system.
• The feedback from the consultation will inform the ENA’s Open Networks Project on coordinating access across the networks and the National Electricity Transmission System Operator’s (NETSO’s) work on standardising and simplifying services, working with participants to find optimal solutions to maximising the use of their assets. 
• Along with the consultation, the Open Networks Project will also be publishing on the ENA website Customer Journey Maps, which detail ways the customer interacts with the electricity network companies, and also a report outlining the key learnings from a number of different project trials. 
• Full details of the Commercial Principles for Contracted Flexibility Consultation are available here
• Responses should be submitted to [email protected] by 17:00 on 29 September 2017.